I honestly can’t remember when I got my first pocket knife. I must have been pretty young, say around 6 or 7, and I’m sure it wasn’t much of a knife. I got my first good knife, though, when I was about 10 years old. It was a King stockman and had three blades. By that time, Dad had figured I wasn’t going to cut off any appendages, and Mother, still positive that I would, had given up the fight. With that old stockman, and my Red Ryder BB gun, I spent a lot of time on creeks that needed exploring.
Since those days, I’ve carried a knife virtually every day. Not always an expensive knife, but I always tried to carry a good one. In my law enforcement career, I never stuck anyone with a knife, though I’ve had a few pulled on me. I’ve cleaned all sorts of game with one, cut sticks and wood for various reasons, and even cut some seat belts off at car wrecks. When I was Sheriff, I encouraged all of my jailers to carry a good pocket knife and one of them cut a prisoner down who was trying to hang himself. For men or women, a good knife is a handy thing to have close at hand.
I especially like to see a kid with a good pocket knife. It’s usually an indication that someone trusts him. And it is tangible proof that he is growing up and that the day when he will have his very own .22 rifle is not all that far off. Kids need that sort of trust and responsibility.
Got any kids on your Christmas list? There’s still time to shop around for a good pocket knife to go in their Christmas stocking. It’s kind of an American tradition, you know.